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Guzman chalks up second Predator, fourth overall 2019 win

l to r: Luis Carrasco, Rainer Oraa, Debra Pritchett, Akiko Taniyama, Juan Guzman & Jim Conn

Juan Guzman is, as they say, tearin’ ‘em up at the tables these days. As mentioned in a report on a Tri-State Tour stop he won in November, he’s not likely to catch up to his best earnings year to date (2016), when he won two events on the Tri-State, two on the Predator Pro Am tour, and was runner-up that year in the George “Ginky” Sansouci Memorial run by both tours, but he’s making a late year run at getting closer. He won a stop on the Predator in April, seemed to take a mini-break and has since recorded two victories on the Tri-State (Oct. & Nov.) and just this past weekend, Nov.30-Dec. 1, added a Predator Pro Am Tour stop to the 2019 resume. Though he was challenged in the finals by long-time Predator competitor, Jim Conn, who won seven on the loss side to reach him, Guzman prevailed to go undefeated at the $1,000-added event which drew 60 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.

With Conn already at work on the loss side, following a defeat at the hands of Abel Barriento, Guzman advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Rainer Oraa. Luis Carrasco and Akiko Taniyama squared off in the other one. Carrasco got into the hot seat match with a 7-4 victory over Taniyama, as Guzman was busy sending Oraa west 8-6. Guzman claimed the hot seat 9-7 over Carrasco and waited for Conn to finish his loss-side run.

It was Oora who drew Conn, four matches into his loss-side streak, which had recently included a successful rematch against Barriento 8-6 and a 7-4 win over the tour’s #1 B+ player Matt Klein. Taniyama, a C player, drew Debra Pritchett (D+), who, going into the event, was 12 rungs above Taniyama on the tour’s top female list (#7 – #19), primarily because Pritchett had competed in about three times as many events on this year’s tour; 11 versus Taniyama’s 4.5 appearances. Pritchett had recently knocked out the tour’s #1 female player, Suzzie Wong (C) 6-4 and Euryel Castillo 7-4.

Taniyama defeated Pritchett 6-3 and in the quarterfinals, faced Conn, who’d eliminated Oraa 8-5. Conn ended Taniyama’s bid 10-5 in those quarterfinals.

Conn then defeated Carrasco 9-6 in the semifinals for a shot at Guzman in the hot seat. In the extended-race-to-9 finals, Guzman reached his target 7 racks ahead of Conn to claim the event title.

In a 15-entrant, single elimination Second Chance event, Chulo Castro and Ambi Estevez battled to a deciding 13th game. Castro prevailed to claim the Second Chance title. Julian Tierney and Marisol Palacios tied for third place.

Tour director Tony Robles thanked Manny Stamatakis and his Steinway Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, PlayNAPT.com, The DeVito Team, Poolonthenet.com, Capelle (BilliardsPress.com), AZBilliards, Pool & Billiard Magazine, Billiards Digest and his own Predator Pro Am team, to include his lovely wife, Gail. The next stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour, scheduled for the weekend of December 13-14, will be the tour’s final event of the year, its 2019 Tour Championships. The $4,000+-added event will, as usual, be hosted by Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY.

Ok goes undefeated, downing Martinez twice to capture Tri-State title

Eugene Ok and Bianca Martinez

It could have gone either way. And happened to any one of them.
 
It just so happened that on Sunday, October 27, it was Bianca Martinez facing off against a male competitor (in her case, Eugene Ok) at a stop on the Tri-State Tour. Martinez competes as a C player on the Tri-State Tour. She is fourth in tour standings among females, behind Michelle Brotons, Amanda Andries and Allison LaFleur and just ahead of Suzzie Wong. On the Predator Pro Am Tour, she plays as a D+ and is fifth among the tour’s female competitors, behind Wong, Andries, Kanami Chau, and Monika Callaghan. She is just ahead of Annie Flores
 
It’s becoming a common occurrence; women competing against their male counterparts at the tables and if not, at this juncture, always favored to win, at least in the conversation at the end of increasing numbers of regional tours; not all of them with just female competition.
 
Eugene Ok, who plays as a B+ player on both the Tri-State and Predator Pro Am Tour; good for 7th place among B+ players on the Tri-State and 4th among the B+ players on the Predator Pro Am Tour, went undefeated at the $1,000-added, 10-Ball Tri-State event that drew 27 entrants to Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY. But he had to get by Martinez twice to do it; both times in a match that came within a game of going double hill.
 
They both advanced to a winners’ side semifinal; Ok, facing off against Tommy Schreiber and  Martinez doing battle with one of the aforementioned women ahead of her in the standings of both tours, Amanda Andries; second on both tours and like Martinez, a C on the Tri-State and a D+ on the Predator Pro Am.
 
Ok advanced to the hot seat match with a 6-3 win over Schreiber, as Martinez was busy sending Andries west 5-2. In their first of two, Ok claimed the hot seat 7-5 and waited for Martinez to get back from the semifinals.
 
On the loss side, Schreiber picked up Dave Shlemperis, who’d been defeated by Ok in a winners’ side quarterfinal match and then, defeated Kevins Scalzitti and Shin, both 6-4. Andries drew Jason Goberdhan, who’d eliminated the Tri-State Tour’s top female, Michelle Brotons 5-1 and Jim Gutierrez 5-2.
 
Both matches for advancement to the quarterfinals went double hill. Shlemperis eliminated Schreiber and Goberdhan defeated Andries. Goberdhan then defeated Shlemperis 6-2 in those quarterfinals.
 
In a semifinal match described by a tour representative as “one of those sets where he couldn’t do anything right and she couldn’t do anything wrong,” Martinez shut Goberdhan out 5-0 to earn a second shot against Ok in the hot seat.
 
They duplicated their hot seat match performance. Ok chalked up the game, set and match 7-5 to claim the event title.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Cue Bar for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui, Phil Capelle, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Billiard Engineering, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues and Pool & Billiards. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, November 3, will be hosted by Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ. 
 

2019 NYC 8-Ball Championship – Suzzie Wong vs Mac Jankov

Melendez goes undefeated* to claim his second Tri-State Tour title

(l to r): Juan Melendez & Matt Klein

With his victory* on the Tri-State Tour’s October 13 stop at the Spot in Nanuet, NY, his second overall on the tour, Juan Melendez made 2019 his best earnings year to date, surpassing his 2017 earnings, when he won his first Tri-State event. Going into the $1,250-added, Double Points event that drew 49 entrants to The Spot, Melendez was the Tri-State Tour’s #10-ranked C-Class player. In what proved to be his final match, vying for the hot seat, he downed the tour’s #5-ranked B+ Class player, Matt Klein. The two opted out of a final match.
 
Melendez was challenged early and just did survive a double hill fight against Ada Lio in the event’s opening round. He advanced to down Amanda Andries 6-3 and Suzzie Wong 6-1 to draw Brandone Alli in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Klein, in the meantime, squared off against Pascal Dufresne in the other one.
 
Melendez sent Alli to the loss side 6-4, as Klein was sending Dufresne over 7-5. In what proved to be the title match, Melendez claimed the hot seat 8-5 over Klein.
 
On the loss side, Dufresne picked up H. Marcelo (Mars) Adinolfi, who had defeated Joe Mazzeo and Desi DeRado, both 7-3, to reach him. Alli drew Adrian Daniel, who’d recently chalked up two straight double hill wins over Jim Gutierrez and Suzzie Wong.
 
Adinolfi and Daniel handed Dufresne and Alli their second straight loss; Adinolfi, 7-4 over Dufresne and Daniel, 6-3 over Alli. Adinolfi took one more loss-side step with a 7-5 win over Daniel in the quarterfinals.
 
Adinolfi gave Klein all he could handle in the semifinals that followed. They battled to double hill before Klein ended the match, and in effect, the event 7-6. Klein and Melendez agreed on the split of the top two cash prizes and Melendez came away with the official event title.
 
Tour representatives thanked Rhys Chen and his staff at The Spot for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui, Phil Capelle, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Billiard Engineering, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues and Pool & Billiards. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, October 20, will be hosted by Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ. 

Pao and Shea battle it out for event victory and top spot on JPNEWT

Caroline Pao (Erwin Dionisio)

Tour director Linda Shea came into the 7th stop on her J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour on October 12-13 as the tour’s top-ranked player, having appeared in all six previous stops on the tour and winning one of them, back in April. Caroline Pao entered the tournament as the tour’s #2-ranked player, having appeared in two previous stops on the tour and winning them both (July and September). When the event that drew a short field of 12 entrants to Eagle Billiards in Dickson City, PA was over, Pao had gone undefeated to chalk up her third win on the tour, but had failed, point-wise, to pass Shea on the tour’s player-standings list.
 
They faced each other twice in the event; once, in a winners’ side semifinal and again, in the finals. Pao had shut out Judie Wilson and given up only a single rack to Denise Mangini when she drew Shea in the winners’ side semifinal. Shea had defeated Carol V. Clark 7-2 and Noel Rima 7-5 to draw Pao. In the meantime, Linda Cheung, who’d been awarded an opening round bye, defeated Suzzie Wong 7-4 to draw Anita Sowers in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Pao advanced to the hot seat match by sending Shea to the loss side 7-2. She was joined by Cheung, who downed Sowers, double hill. Pao claimed the hot seat 7-1 over Cheung and waited for Shea to complete her three-match run on the loss side.
 
Shea opened that loss-side run with a rematch against Clark, who, after her defeat versus Shea in the opening round, picked up a bye, then eliminated Wong 7-1 and survived a double hill fight against Melissa Jenkins. Sowers drew a rematch, as well, against Sharon O’Hanlon, whom she’d defeated in the opening round and who’d subsequently defeated Denise Mangini 7-2 and Noel Rima 7-5 to earn the rematch.
 
Shea downed Clark a second time 7-2. She was joined in the quarterfinals by O’Hanlon, who’d eliminated Sowers in their rematch 7-5. Shea completed her loss-side run with a 7-1 victory over O’Hanlon in the quarterfinals and a 7-2 win over Cheung in the semifinals.
 
The two repeated their performance in the winners’ side semifinal. Pao defeated Shea a second time 7-2 to claim the event title.
 
Shea thanked Chris Wilson and his Eagle Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor J. Pechauer Custom Cues, MezzUSA, Baltimore City Cues, Billy Ray Bunn Cue Repair and streaming support from angle aim Art (Britanya E Rapp). The next stop on the JPNEWT, scheduled for the weekend of November 16-17, will be hosted by Triple Nines Bar & Billiards in Elkridge, MD.

Zaveri picks up concession win on the Tri-State

Alberto Estevez, Jaydev Zaveri and Chris Kaiser

Normally, when two finalists agree not to play a last match at an event, they split the top two prizes, while allowing the undefeated hot seat occupant at the time, to claim the event title. On Saturday, October 16, at a $1,000-added event on the Tri-State Tour that drew 51 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY, a work commitment forced the hot seat occupant, Alberto Estevez, to decline a final match. Thus, while they opted to split the top two prizes, the opponent he'd already defeated in the hot seat match, Jaydev Zaveri, was left to claim the event title.
 
Zaveri's path to the winners' circle, which ended at the conclusion of the hot seat match, included victories over Ambi Estevez (brother to Alberto), Suzanna Wong and Allison LaFleur, before running into Chris Kaiser in a winners' side semifinal. Alberto Estevez, in the meantime, met up with Chris Kelly. Zaveri and Estevez sent the two Chris-es to the loss side; Zaveri, defeating Kaiser 5-4 and Estevez downing Kelly 6-3. Estevez took the hot seat match against Zaveri 6-3, as well.
 
On the loss side, Chris Kelly picked up Miguel Laboy, who was in the midst of a seven-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him as far as the quarterfinals. He defeated Lidio Ramirez 6-3, and Brooke Meyer 6-4 to reach Kelly. Chris Kaiser drew Nicole Monaco, who'd gotten by Suzanna Wong and Allison LaFleur, both 7-5. LaBoy picked up a forfeit win over Chris Kelly, and in the quarterfinals, faced Kaiser, who'd ended Monaco's day 5-4.
 
Kaiser ended LaBoy's streak 9-3 in the quarterfinals, and then had his own streak ended with a double hill win by Zaveri in what proved to be the last match of the event, the semifinals. Zaveri and Estevez opted out the finals, and split the top two prizes.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Steinway Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Ron Vitello, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, and Bloodworth Ball Cleaners. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for October 30, will be hosted by Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.